Needy kids’ sad letters to Santa up for adoption by public – USPS launches new online program
This week, letters to Santa from low income kids are being made available by the USPS ® in major cities. A new USPS ® Digital online letter adoption program launched December 3rd, making online adoption available in 7 more cities. BeAnElf.org as an excellent online guide to how and where the public may volunteer for the USPS Operation Santa ® program.
Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and 12 other cities –
December 4, 2018 – Starting this week, low income kids’ Santa letters will be made available by the USPS ® in 16 major US cities, and a new USPS ® Digital letter adoption program launched online on December 3rd.
The 106 year old program invites the public to adopt letters to Santa written by children whose letters often ask only for “a warm coat”, “new shoes,” or other basic necessities. Christmas volunteers may mail their gifts directly to the child or family who needs a brighter Christmas.
On December 3rd the Postal Service ® unveiled DeliverCheer.com, which will permit the public to adopt needy children’s letters online in seven cities. For online adoption, volunteers must live near those cities in order to deliver their gifts to the participating post office for mailing. Children’s addresses are not provided to the public.
Operation Santa will kick off in Los Angeles on December 6, 2018, at 11am at 7001 S Central Avenue, Los Angeles 90052. Info on all 16 Operation Santa branches is listed on Be An Elf’s page, www.BeAnElf.org/locations/.
BeAnElf.org is an excellent online guide to Operation Santa. In news coverage, please include a link to the site as a resource for those wishing to volunteer for the program. The site offers a list of all participating USPS ® branches, including the days and hours of operation, and smart tips for volunteering. The group creates public awareness of the program, promotes it in social media, and adopts their own letters as donations come in. Donations to Be An Elf are tax-deductible.
The US Postal Service ® has made the children’s letters available every December since 1912. In 2018, the letters to Santa may be adopted in person at a single postal branch in each of the following 16 cities: Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Clarita, CA, Santa Ana, CA and Warsaw, IN.
Each branch sets its schedule according to expected public demand for Santa letters, so the days and hours vary from city to city.
Online adoption will be available to those who live in or near these 7 cities: New York, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Austin, San Diego and Washington, DC. In the pilot program in New York in 2017, of approximently 7,100 letters uploaded online, 5,000 were adopted.
Be An Elf is a tax-exempt charity founded by volunteer Patrick Reynolds in 2004 to create public awareness of the USPS Operation Santa ® program. While not affiliated with the USPS ® program, Be An Elf supports Operation Santa ® by recruiting hundreds of new volunteers for it every year.
Patrick Reynolds is a grandson of tobacco company founder RJ Reynolds, makers of Camel, but received the Lifetime Achievement award in 2015 from President Obama for his work against Big Tobacco.
“Some Operation Santa volunteers feel alone and sad over the holidays, and find comfort and inspiration volunteering for this program. People catch the true spirit of the holidays, and put smiles on the faces of needy kids on Christmas morning. It’s micro-philanthropy, direct from a volunteer to a child,” says Mr. Reynolds.
One tip Be An Elf offers is to give a holiday party at which friends and neighbors are invited to bring gifts for kids, and share the gift wrapping. Another tip suggests volunteers can adopt multiple letters by mailing gift cards from Target or Costco, and letting the kids’ Moms do the shopping for their families. Companies may adopt up to 100 letters to Santa, and distribute them to committees of interested employees.
BeAnElf.org suggests smart gifts like backpacks, school supplies, new clothes (not used), books, and a small gift for the mothers, whom the site says are sometimes feeling sad over the holidays. The site notes that some moms also write to Santa, listing their children’s clothing and shoe sizes. Often their kids are too little to write to Santa themselves.
Mr. Reynolds’ bio is at Anti-smoking.org/bio/ Links to two cable network news interviews about Be An Elf from 2011 are below.
Please tag your story about the USPS program with a mention of BeAnElf.org as an excellent online resource and guide to the program.
2018 LIST OF OPERATION SANTA BRANCHES
In person and online cities, with days and hours of operation
BeAnElf.org IN SOCIAL MEDIA
IMAGES AND ART
BeAnElf offers downloadable high resolution photos and children’s letters.
Be An Elf CONTACT:
Patrick Reynolds, Chief Elf
Be An Elf
(310) 880-1111 Cell (For reporters only)
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